The Hawaiian archipelago, formerly known as the Sandwich Islands, is located in the Pacific Ocean and consists of 18 islands and atolls, 8 of which are major. According to COUNTRYAAH, they are the islands of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui and Hawaii. Today, this archipelago is the 50th state of the USA. The islands are of volcanic origin and we can find several active volcanoes on them. The highest mountain of the entire archipelago is Mauna Kea, measuring 4205 meters above sea level, but if we were to measure it from the underwater part as well, its height reaches around 10 km. It is thus the highest solid mountain in the world, and for most of the year snow remains on it. Today, there are several astronomical observatories on the top of the mountain.
The history of the islands goes back to sometime in the year 1000, when they were settled by Polynesians who arrived from the Marquesas archipelago. Until 1778, the islanders lived here in their traditional and isolated way of life, in a society ruled by tribal chiefs and shamans. Then the famous navigator, discoverer and researcher James Cook sailed to the shores of Hawaii and thus opened the islands to Europe. Cook finally met his death in the Hawaiian Islands in 1779 during a power struggle.
According to TRACKAAH, today’s population is made up of a large proportion of half-breeds, races of all US states, Asians, Caucasians. Today, the original island population makes up about 22% of the population. The majority of the population are Christians, of which Protestants have the largest share.
The Hawaiian Islands are rightly referred to as a tropical paradise on earth, we can find beautiful nature, clean sandy beaches and many sports and cultural activities here. There are ideal conditions for diving and snorkeling – coral reefs extend around the islands. The least visited by tourists is the island of Kauai, which is mostly covered with rainforest. On the island of Oahu, there is the most famous and tourist-attractive beach of the entire archipelago – Waikiki. It is hard to believe that at the beginning of the 20th century there were only swamps and a few fishing huts. Today, it already offers its visitors all the necessary facilities, and over 30,000 people can relax here at once.
How about getting Hawaii?
In the Czech language, Hawaii has become a synonym for well-being and doing nothing, in short “to have Hawaii”. When we say this name, most of us think of the sea, heat, palm trees and swarthy native beauties with flowers around their necks. Is that really the case? Despite all the Americanization, commercialization and globalization, it still largely does.
The Hawaiian Islands were originally inhabited by Polynesians, and were not discovered for the Western world until 1778 by James Cook. Currently, it belongs to the states of the USA, but it is a very specific state. They form a chain of mountainous volcanic islands in the central Pacific, located about 3,800 km southwest of the coast of California.
The oldest (of the eight main) and at the same time the northernmost island is Kauai, about a 20-minute flight from Honolulu. It was formed about six million years ago and covers an area of 550 square miles (about 1,425 km2). It is also called Garden Island. Not because there are many gardens here, but because of its lush greenery, caused by more frequent rainfall compared to other islands.
For the fact that it is relatively small, Kauai offers an abundance of attractions and various activities and a great variability of natural beauty. Only about 10% of the island is accessible by car, which will not please continental Americans who are used to driving all the time, but for the Czech visitor, this fact guarantees many interesting options for wandering through the deserted nature on foot. At the same time, it is possible to use camping in local state or local parks. However, for this you need to obtain a permit, issued for free for state parks, for local (so-called county parks) then for a fee of 3 dollars per person per night. Of course, be careful! For some particularly popular places, such as the Na Pali coastal area, it is necessary to start processing permits up to a year in advance, elsewhere expect to wait one to six months depending on the season.
For hiking, you will need good maps and plenty of information, such as the Hawaii Geographic Society. Then there is nothing to stop you from going on a hike and walking through one of the recommended circuits. These include, for example, a descent into the beautiful Waimea Canyon, a trip around Hanakapiai Falls or several other (smaller) waterfalls, a trip through the Kalalau Valley, but also a visit to the famous Kee and Na Pali beaches. The island is also home to the Manawaiopuna Falls, which were seen in the Jurassic Park movie. Unfortunately, they are not currently accessible, so the only way to see them is to pay for a rather expensive helicopter trip.
Other activities popular with tourists include horse riding, fishing, golf… There are plenty of options. Of course, fans of diving or windsurfing will also find their way.
We must not forget the local culture, which is truly unique. At the same time, it is not just the well-known hula dance and Hawaiian songs, we will discover much more under this skin. On Kauai, you will find several ancient sacred sites (“heiau”) or mysterious petroglyphs. Also interesting is the legend of an ancient race of small people called the Menehune who formerly inhabited the island. These people were said to be very technically advanced and created incredible buildings and constructions, for example daring aqueducts or water reservoirs. To this day, they appear in legends and are attributed to them, for example, lost keys, “disappeared” objects, etc.
So watch out! When you’re on Kauai, keep an eye on your return ticket so the Menehune don’t steal it. Or that it would be better that way, what do you think?
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail
The Ala Kahakai Trail was established in 2000 to preserve and protect traditional Hawaiian culture and the unique natural resources found in its surroundings.